Fitness First commits to inclusion of the disabled
Fitness First has been recognised for its determination to include disabled people with the first of its clubs accredited through the Inclusive Fitness Initiative’s (IFI) National Sports Foundation (NSF) Programme.
The country’s largest gym chain was the first major operator in the commercial sector to commit to the programme that works not only to create accessible facilities but also engages disabled people in physical activity.
So far 24 of the clubs have been accredited and more are being modified to ensure inclusion throughout the country.
John Gamble, Fitness First managing director said: “Fitness First is committed to making the world a fitter place with no exclusions and we are pleased to be making these changes with immediate effect. It is a landmark step forward for the fitness industry and we are proud to be the first major health club group to offer this.’’
As part of the accreditation process personal trainers have been offered training in Levels Two and Three of the IFI training programme to allow them to suitably train disabled members. Fitness First has also worked closely with its equipment suppliers to have a selection of machines which are IFI accredited.
Among the first clubs to be accredited is Poole where the accreditation was marked with a ceremony involving Olympic paralympian skier Russell Docker and Dr Hilary Jones, medical advisor to Fitness First.
Sue Catton, IFI National Director said: “The scale and depth of Fitness First’s commitment to the IFI NSF Programme illustrates that the inclusion of disabled people is both the right thing and also represents a sensible business decision.
“Fitness First has taken a lead, acknowledged that the commercial sector must seek to proactively include disabled people, both financially and legislatively, and that action is required to ensure that inclusion is adequately addressed. This sends a very powerful message and we hope that all commercial operators will realise that this agenda must be addressed, can be cost effectively met and cannot be ignored.”